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Pope meets with two poles of same-sex relationships

VATICAN (SE): Pope Francis met around a dozen people at the Vatican nunciature in Washington during his tour of the United States of America (US), the Holy See spokesperson, Father Federico Lombardi, told a media conference on October 2.

While he chatted briefly with a conscious objector to the same-sex marriage court decision requiring marriage licences to be issued to same-sex couples by all states in the US, Kim Davis, and even gave her a hug, Father Lombardi said the meeting was not a political statement.

Davis told the media that the pope only said to her, “Thank you for your courage.”

Father Lombardi said, “Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the pope’s characteristic kindness and availability.”

He added, “The only real audience granted by the pope at the nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.”

That meeting was a reunion with a longtime friend and former student, Yayo Grassi. Sixty-seven-year-old Grassi is an openly gay man and he and his partner, Iwan Bagus, were received by Pope Francis.

They greeted each other with a warm hug.

Pope Francis taught Grassi literature and psychology at Inmaculada Conception, a Jesuit high school in Sante Fe, Argentina, from 1964 to 1965.

A professed atheist, Grassi said that the pope has long known he is gay, but has never condemned his sexuality or his relationship with another man. Pope Francis said that he could recall meeting Grassi’s boyfriend in Rome.

“Obviously, he is the pastor of the Church and he has to follow the Church’s teaching,” Grassi explained. 

“But as a human being he understands all kinds of situations and he is open to all kinds of people, including those with different sexual characteristics,” he said.

Since the two almost diametrically opposed encounters, the Vatican media have tried to de-politicise the meetings.

 

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